Zurich's Wilson reveals advisers' biggest platform problems


Advisers should conduct “targeted due diligence” of platforms specifically around Mifid II and replatforming, according to Zurich’s Alistair Wilson.

The life company's head of retail platform strategy told Money Management’s Craig Rickman the incoming European regulation and technology changes were the main platform due diligence challenges facing advisers and insisted “they need to concentrate on the detail”.

“It’s only when you get into the detail of platforms do you understand the full differentiation of what one platform might deliver from another,” Mr Wilson said.

“So you have an awful lot of clients looking to move from accumulation to decumulation and that may be moving into an overall drawdown solution. So they need to understand what are the costs for doing that within the platform or indeed just the functionality.”

He explained: “Clients have an expectation when using technology that that technology is going to deliver for them. And it might be strange for them to find out they can’t have the income sent to them on a particular date – they have to wait longer. 

“In my opinion it probably takes platforms longer now than it took insurance companies to deliver withdrawals into their bank account and that seems very strange, so advisers need to do that overall process.”

But he suggested it might help platforms if advisers approached due diligence differently.

“They could give more information to the platform right at the outset and say, here is my client proposition, here is what I’m looking to deliver on an ongoing basis. Once platforms can understand that, advisers can say, ‘well how are you going to help me deliver those services?’” he pointed out.

On the subject of Mifid II, which comes into force on the 3 January 2018, he noted platforms will have to “replay back over the past 12 months the actual costs and charges that the client has paid over that period of time”.

He said some platforms are not clear on the overall costs they charge and observed, “the challenge the advisers have is actually understanding what all these costs are going to be, so they have to look at the client journey”.

Mr Wilson also discussed the impact of replatforming on advisers and their clients.

Watch the full interview at the top of the page.